How To Battle Imposter Syndrome
Growing up, we’re taught that hard work equals success or at least sets us on the very path to success.
Discover why the straightforward equation of hard work leading to success doesn’t always add up, especially when impostor syndrome enters the equation.
Which should make sense, right? But on the contrary, I felt a sense of dread whenever I received an applaud at school. I thought that I wasn’t deserving of the award for unknown reasons, which is the complete opposite of what I should feel, right? For me, I couldn’t make sense of this until I came across the term “impostor syndrome.” I had felt like an impostor - as the name suggests, like an imposter in my own life, hobby, and career.
And chances are, if you’re reading this right now, at some point in life, you may have questioned yourself with thoughts like:
- “What if everyone finds out I’m a fraud”?
- “Do I have what it takes to make it in this industry”?
- “Are my team members doubting my abilities”?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are welcome to the exclusive club of high achievers suffering from Impostor Syndrome. Making media rounds since the 1970s in business circles and the world, psychologists formed the term “impostor phenomenon”, also known as impostor syndrome, and say it brews around certain expectations around achievement from family and friends.
While Imposter Syndrome is often associated with these, other situational factors can also play. Impostor syndrome is no respecter of persons as members of all teams can experience it, regardless of whether you’re a hybrid, or remote worker. According to the writer of “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women - Valerie Young,” it is common among high achievers and creative students.”
But the truth is, there are nothing impostors about people who feel like them. Their achievements are evident in their grades, promotions, awards, and accolades. Whatever the source of imposter syndrome, whether it comes from our families or our jobs, one thing is constant: our foundations may not change, but the technologies and platforms will embrace growth and learning how to battle imposter syndrome is the only way to stay ahead. It doesn’t help to hear a nagging voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough to close the deal or execute that task.
Here are 5 proven methods to send imposter syndrome to the back seat while you take charge of your life and day-to-day work activities like the pro that you are.
1. Recognize and Own Your Feelings
Start by acknowledging that impostor syndrome is a common experience, not a personal failure.
It’s very tricky to think you’re alone when experiencing imposter syndrome - but that’s not true. You’re not the only one who’s ever felt like an imposter. 62 studies on imposter syndrome were reviewed in 2019 and found 9 to 82 per cent of people experienced these feelings at some point in their lives. From Health Professionals to Academy-Award-winning actors, even the most successful best-selling writers have experienced it at one point or another. While anybody can have these feelings, according to research, women and people of colour are more likely to experience them. Hence, we put together a few heroines who put pen to paper about how to battle imposter syndrome.
Michelle Obama: As a young woman, the former first lady said she would lie awake at night asking herself: Am I too loud? Too much? Dreaming too big? “Eventually, I just got tired of always worrying about what everyone else thought of me,” she said. “So I decided not to listen.” Maya Angelou: In the words of Maya Angelou, after publishing her 11th book, she thought every time she wrote another, “Uh-oh, they’ll find out now.”. I’ve run a game on everybody.” Admitting that Imposter Syndrome will come knocking from time to time as we embark on our life’s journey will eliminate the feeling of loneliness and possible depression. Understanding that even those you look up to on big screens are no exemptions will make you pay less attention to its tiny lies about your achievements.
2. Reframe Your Inner Dialogue: From Fraud to Learner
Change your self-talk from negative fraud-focused to a growth mindset that embraces challenges as learning opportunities.
The people who don’t feel like impostors are no smarter than the rest of us. The only difference is that they have a different thought process and coping mechanism which makes us feel like an impostor under those circumstances. Becoming conscious of your impostor self-talk is an excellent place to start. Put yourself in the position of a non-impostor by stopping and rephrasing that internal conversation. It’s how you respond to a new challenge, instead of, “Oh no, I doubt if I can do this and instead of thinking, “Wow, this is a learning opportunity. As part of rewiring your thought process, you will begin to take some constructive criticism gracefully. In a situation when you feel like an impostor, even one negative comment among five positive ones can make you give up. However, non-impostors actively seek out more knowledgeable teachers and coaches, knowing that they can only improve by getting honest feedback. The last step is to rewire your definition of failure. Despite feeling disappointed, you do not have to feel shame. To stop feeling like an impostor, you must stop thinking like one.
3. Take Stock of Your Achievements: Celebrating the Small Victories
Document your journey, noting each challenge and victory, to serve as evidence against the impostor syndrome’s lies.
Imposter syndrome causes people to underestimate their accomplishments. Think about your success in terms of what you’ve learned rather than what you’ve accomplished. By documenting the challenges, you faced and how you overcame them, you can track your progress, and find that you have gained some experience! In addition to demonstrating that you are not an impostor to your achievements, this will also present you as a great team member and employee.
4. The Might of Positive Affirmations: Pep Talks for the Soul
Use positive affirmations to strengthen your resolve and remind yourself of your worth during tough times.
Pep-talking yourself through the tough times can go a long way in learning how to battle imposter syndrome. Positive self-talk can help you get through difficult times. Suppose you’re assuming new tasks at work. Instead of worrying, say to yourself, “I am worthy hence why I’m entrusted with this project. Mistakes might happen along the way, and I may get some constructive criticism, but that’s OK; it’s all part of the learning process.
5. The Trap of Comparison: Cultivating Self-Appreciation in a Digital Age
Shift your focus from comparing yourself to others to appreciating your own unique path and achievements.
In a world where everyone and everything is online, it’s easy to fall prey to the deadly habit of “comparison.” In your personal life and even at work, comparison can trigger certain negative emotions such as imposter syndrome, insecurities, and jealousy. It would help if you act as your biggest fan, hone your uniqueness and cheer on your achievements as an individual. Say you’re in the tech sector - which is very vast, with multitudes of innovation and opportunities focus on your strength. At the same time, you leverage collaborative guidance ad you learn to be better. Accept corrections and failures as stepping stones to your success.
It may not be simple to start a new career or stay relevant in an old one at first, but the good thing is that success does not demand perfection. Because true perfection is nearly hard to achieve, and failing to do so does not make you an imposter. Instead of self-doubting yourself, track your wins and wire your thought process to help you stay in clear perspective of your wins per time because success is relative and that’s exactly how to battle imposter syndrome and win!